Government announces £320 million ‘central heating for cities’ scheme

29th Jun 2016

Over the next 5 years the UK government will be investing £320 million in the implementation of heat networks across the country.

The aim of the scheme, dubbed ‘central heating for cities’, is to reduce heating costs and supply warmth to homes and businesses. In fact, the scheme has the potential to reduce heating costs by over 30% for some households.

Heat networks (also called district heating) use a central heat source which is connected via a network of pipes to multiple buildings. Not only does heat generated by the heat source get distributed to these buildings, there is also the possibility to capture and re-use heat that would have otherwise been wasted. The heat can come from a variety of sources including large heat pumps, combined heat and power plants and deep geothermal plants.

Whilst heat networks are not widely used in the UK they can be found in the city centres of Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham, Southampton (and soon Bristol) as well as in some high rise housing developments. District heating is much more common in other European countries, such as Norway and Denmark, where thousands of homes are already connected and benefiting from low carbon energy.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change commented: “This is an important next step in developing more home-grown energy, which is a vital part of our plan to ensure long-term energy security and affordable energy for our families and businesses.

“The funding we’re consulting on today will enable these schemes to provide affordable low carbon energy to thousands of homes and businesses across Britain’s towns and cities.”
The government is aiming to launch the first round of funding this year, with a series of funding rounds to follow into early 2021.